You may be familiar with Andrew from his involvement with Chapel Hill, NC duo Mandolin Orange. As the songwriter for the band, Andrew has become known as a gifted lyricist, producing powerful yet subtle, thoughtfully crafted songs. With Mandolin Orange, Andrew has toured the world, graced famous stages (including the Ryman Auditorium, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and Newport Folk Festival, to name just a few), sold thousands of records, and received millions of streams.
Andrew’s first instrument was a guitar he purchased at the age of 14 with money he earned from working at Southern States, a farm store in his home town of Warrenton, NC. “It took me two weeks to pay for a hundred dollar guitar, but once I bought it, I just sat down and started playing with it. I haven’t put it down since then. I’ve been writing tunes since I was fourteen.”
A guitar purchase was just the beginning for Andrew. At twenty, Marlin moved from his hometown to the southern music mecca of Chapel Hill. He couch surfed while learning the ins & outs of engineering at the Rubber Room Studio under the eye of local engineer Jerry Brown. Since that time, Andrew’s reach has grown. He’s gone from showcasing at open mics to playing for thousands of fans; from learning how to correctly coil an XLR cable to producing albums in notable studios like Echo Mountain.
Aside from Andrew’s work with Mandolin Orange, the albums he’s produced for other artists have received notable success. Rachel Baiman’s Shame was featured as one of NPR’s “Songs We Love,” Mipso’s Old Time Reverie placed #1 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart, Josh Oliver’s Parts of Life was featured on Spotify’s “Indie Bluegrass” playlist, and Kate Rhudy’s Rock n’ Roll Ain’t For Me has received more than 550,000 streams on album tracks.
When Marlin works with other songwriters in the studio and performs alongside musicians who share his love for traditional music, his philosophy is simple but powerful: it’s all about the song. This belief and passion for creating song-driven recordings comes across in not only his own music but also in the production projects he takes on.
NOAM PIKELNY has emerged as the preeminent banjoist of his generation. He is a founding member of Punch Brothers, a 3-time Grammy Nominee and was awarded the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass in 2010.
Universal Favorite is the fourth record Noam Pikelny has released under his own name, but it’s truly his solo debut. His previous solo efforts—including 2014’s landmark Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe—were full-band affairs that revealed his abilities as a dynamic bandleader while reinforcing his reputation as an inventive accompanist. The new release features only the man himself, playing lovely originals and covers that showcase his unique approach to the instrument and compositional flair. He recorded them live in the studio without accompaniment, coaxing a wide array of sounds and colors out of his instruments, embracing the challenges and exploring the new possibilities of the solo setting. And, for the first time in his career, Pikelny even sings. It turns out he has a striking deadpan baritone that conveys humor and melancholy in equal measure.
This album, he says, “is the most personal statement I’ve put forward. The setting couldn’t be more stark and I think it lays bare my musical core. Most importantly, it’s an incredibly honest solo album, in that there are honestly no other people on this record other than me.“